Laem Pak Bia: 19 April 2015

I made a very short visit to Laem Pak Bia with my family on 19 April. It was the first time for me to shoot with my new Canon 7D Mark II. We arrived at the area quite late in the morning and the light was getting really strong. We first stopped at the royal project where birds are seen and photographed easily just from our car. As usual, birds were abundant and we had a good time inside the project for several hours.

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Male ‘macronyx’ Eastern Yellow Wagtail

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Still hasn’t completed its moult

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Common Sandpiper looking better in breeding season

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As well as the Temminck’s Stint

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Interestingly, there were lots of Indian Cormorants inside the project as well as in the salt pans nearby. I remember when I first started birding 15 years ago, it was a scarce and very local bird. Now, it can be found in good numbers around the inner gulf of Thailand including Khok Kham and Laem Pak Bia area. We also found a non-breeding Spot-billed Pelican, another species that used to be extremely rare in Thailand but has recently recovered.

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Immature Indian Cormorant

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Adult Indian Cormorant in non-breeding plumage

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I always love the deep emerald iris.

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Non-breeding Spot-billed Pelican

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Little Cormorant almost in full breeding plumage

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Big flock of Indian and Little Cormorants in a salt pan next to the project

Another abundant bird in the project was the Javan Pond Heron. Most of them have moulted into breeding plumage. In a good day, you can actually tick all 3 species of pond herons found in Thailand here within the royal project. Unfortunately, it was not one of those days. We found a few Chinese Pond Herons but none Indian Pond Heron was found.

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Javan Pond Heron almost in full breeding plumage

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Javan Pond Heron in breeding plumage

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Chinese Pond Heron in breeding plumage

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Whiskered Tern in full breeding plumage

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This one still hasn’t finished the moult.

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While this one had no sign of breeding plumage at all.

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White-winged Tern was less common. This one has started to transform into breeding plumage.

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More shots of the same Eastern Yellow Wagtail

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Fluffing it up!

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There were also many terns foraging in over the ponds inside the project. Most of them were Whiskered Terns with few White-winged Terns. It seems that White-winged Terns are more abundant offshore while Whiskered Tern is a bird of inland and coastal waters. Most of them have begun to moult into breeding plumage and were photographed easily while resting on wooden poles around the ponds.

We stayed inside the project until around 11am and then left as it was getting too hot and the heat wave was preventing us from getting any clear shot.

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One of the obliging Long-toed Stint in breeding plumage

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Another individual with brighter plumage

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This one seems to be a first-summer bird. Note the heavily worn wing coverts.

We made another very brief stop at a regular site for waders but there were not many waders left. Only a few Long-toed Stints, Curlew Sandpipers, Marsh Sandpipers and distant Spotted Redshanks were found. At least, the Long-toed Stints were coming really close to our car. We then left for lunch in Phetchaburi town and enjoyed the famous Khao-Chae (cooked rice in cold jasmine water), a dish best served in a hot summer day.

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